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School district to lease old bank building

The West Fargo School Board has authorized the district to lease additional office space in a former bank building at 133 Main Ave. W., located just east of the Leidal Education Center parking lot. The district had been conducting an extensive search for office space to rent on a short-term basis within the City of West Fargo to house some of the district administrative personnel.

The district's technology support staff and curriculum development personnel will move out of the Leidal Center to make room for the Community High School program and Newcomers Center which will be relocated to the Leidal Center next year. Administrative staff could be ready to move into the leased building as early as June, once network connections and additional computer ports have been installed.

During their May 11 meeting, board members also approved a proposal setting up two feeder patterns designating which schools K-12 students will attend if the bond election passes in June.  Under the plan, students attending Aurora, Eastwood, Horace elementary schools, as well as the proposed new elementary school, would attend the new middle school and high school, while students attending Westside, South, L.E. Berger, and Harwood elementary schools would attend Cheney Middle School and the existing West Fargo High School.

Elementary school boundaries would stay relatively the same, except where zones would need to be readjusted for the proposed new elementary school at 52nd Avenue South, and the expanded Horace area growth. I-94 will become the boundary marker for the two kindergarten centers, with all kindergarten students living south of the interstate attending the new kindergarten center in Osgood, and students north of I-94 attending the kindergarten center at Lodoen.

Board members were given an update on the status of the employee morale survey being conducted by the Village Business Institute. The survey became available online on Friday, May 8, and copies will be made available by mail to staff members who either don't have an email account or prefer to take the survey manually.

The online survey will be closed on May 20, with paper copies still available through the end of the month. Compiling results will take between five to seven weeks, with results expected to be available by mid-July.

The Village reported that they had received 390 online responses by Monday. So far, they have received eight comments concerned with the lack of open-ended questions, and four comments questioning the use of the term "management" versus "administration."

  A sample copy of the survey was distributed to board members in the agenda packet. Several of the board members were surprised to see that there was no area for comments incorporated into the survey.

Joan Baltezore, president of the West Fargo Education Association, was disappointed with the survey.

"People expected that there would be either open-ended questions or a comment section of some kind," Baltezore asked.

Baltezore said that she has gotten a lot of feedback from staff asking what level of management was being referred to in some of the questions. Many staff members felt that survey results could vary greatly, depending on whether participants interpret management as referring to their direct supervisors, building management, or district administration.

"There's not a survey out there that will be perfect for everybody," Superintendent Dana Diesel Wallace said. She referred to the survey as a starting point.

The next regular school board meeting will be held on May 26, at the Leidal Education Center.